|System: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch|
|Dev: NetherRealm Studios|
|Pub: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment|
|Release: May 26, 2020|
|Players: 1-2 Player|
|Screen Resolution: 1080p-4K||Mature|
by Jenni Lada
When Mortal Kombat 11 came out, it felt like a new opportunity. The current timeline for the series had gotten murky since the 2011 reboot, with many favorites dead or in really questionable positions. Even though the series had been staying strong, it almost seemed like NetherRealm Studios had backed itself into a corner. This installment offered a way out. Now, Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath takes things one step further to offer even more time traveling shenanigans and opportunities to refine what is already there.
The Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath campaign begins right at Mortal Kombat 11’s ending. Conveniently, it has its own whole, separate section, so you can jump right in even if you haven’t finished the main story. Should you, you’ll find a whole bunch of time-tripping fun. Major spoilers aside, part of foiling Kronika means taking her crown in the past. Since Shang Tsung, Nightwolf, and Fujin conveniently just came out of the Void, they’re the candidates to head back and face both characters from the main game and the DLC non-guest characters. It’s not terribly long and will take you under four hours, but it generally provides a satisfying sense of closure.
Probably the best part about it is how Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath better integrates everyone into the story. A lot of characters were added to the game after launch who are important in the grand scheme of things, but didn’t play a part in the main campaign. This epilogue remedies that by making Shang Tsung, Nightwolf, and Fujin the focus. The Shang Tsung part is especially important, because Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa is an incredible actor and basically makes this whole extra storyline worth watching. You know that he’s a snake who can’t be trusted, but you also know that Liu Kang and Raiden need him and are forced to work alongside him. It’s fantastic seeing how it all plays out.
All three of the new characters are also quite fun. Sheeva, who has four hands, makes great use of all of them. Should you throw fire, you’ll actually control each of her hands for each fireball. She’s the sort who is good at dominating and I loved using her to go for combos. Robocop, as you would imagine from a robot-cop with lots of guns, is really good at using his weapons to keep enemies away and at a certain range. (His command grab even lets you briefly carry someone for a bit, which is hilarious to watch.) With Fujin, well, you don’t want to be jumping around recklessly when you’re fighting a guy who uses wind, a crossbow, and a sword he’s throwing around. He’s also good at doing things like airwalking and attacking from above, as you might imagine. But while all are great, Robocop definitely steals the show personality-wise.
The thing about the Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath expansion is that a lot of the best elements of it don’t cost any money. The campaign and new characters do, which makes sense. You can see how much effort went into them. But the other elements are just… there. NetherRealm just went ahead and gave people back Friendships and Stage Fatalities, two classic kinds of finishers are back. They’re all so much fun to perform. Especially since, with Kitana’s, the developer is basically teasing us with a classic character who still hasn’t shown up in this iteration yet. Those new moves are a love letter to installments before.
Which, honestly, can be said about the new stages too. Dead Pool is one that we were teased with before. We saw it in the story, but couldn’t actually use it. The free update brings it back. Given the new and increased focus on Shao Kahn and Shang Tsung, it seems appropriate to see Soul Chamber again too. But the Retrocase is the most fun. This basically has a set that has different old stages from Mortal Kombat I-III playing in the background, with either Shang Tsung or Shao Kahn watching the whole fight from a throne. It’s just super good and campy in the best sort of way.
I suppose the best way to describe Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath is as a finishing move of its own. Though, it’d be a Friendship, rather than a Fatality. It’s in many ways a means of NetherRealm showing appreciation for the series’ history. The free additions pay tribute to the past by bringing back old moves in a gorgeous way. The paid elements give two more classic fighters a chance to return, Robocop a chance to dole out justice, and an even better capper to a story that gives returning fighters who showed up as DLC a place in the story. It’s all handled incredibly well and, to be honest, even people who just come back to the game for the massive free update and its balance updates and additions will be more than satisfied.